Resistance to the harsh Covid restrictions that erupted over the weekend is fading. The government’s actions have meanwhile met with international criticism.
A possible resurgence of protests against the Chinese government’s tough zero-Covid policy has been prevented in several cities by massive police presences. In the Chinese capital, Beijing, and in metropolises such as Shanghai, Guangzhou and Hangzhou, security forces have been seen on the streets since Monday, the reports German press agency. Accordingly, passers-by were often stopped and had to show their cell phones, which were checked for suspicious content or programs such as tunnel services (VPN) to circumvent Chinese censorship.
In Beijing, the Liangma River promenade near the diplomatic district, where hundreds had demonstrated on Sunday evening, was particularly secured. In Shanghai, barriers had been erected on Wulumuqi Road to prevent larger crowds like at the weekend. After calls for new protests on social media, a massive police presence was also seen on People’s Square in the eastern Chinese port metropolis, as eyewitnesses described. The BBC also reports that the police have arrested several people. People taking photos of the protests have been stopped and instructed to delete the images from their devices.
The sometimes harsh action of the Chinese authorities against the protests because of the Corona requirements has meanwhile met with international criticism. Again Deutschlandfunk reported, both the UN, the US government and Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier have called on Beijing to respect freedom of expression. The UN Human Rights Office in Geneva said the Chinese authorities should respond to the protests in accordance with international human rights law. The US government emphasized the right of the Chinese people to demonstrate. Federal President Steinmeier made a similar statement in an interview with the Deutsche Welle: He understands that people are showing their impatience on the streets in view of the onerous strict measures.
The resistance began with a fire
Thousands of people took to the streets in several cities in the People’s Republic over the weekend to protest against the rigorous measures of the zero-Covid policy, such as repeated lockdowns, forced quarantines, mass tests and constant monitoring of corona apps. In Beijing, “lift the lockdown” and “we don’t want PCR tests, we want freedom” were shouted. The resistance began with a fire in a high-rise building in Urumqi, western China, on Thursday that killed ten people.
These were the largest protests in China since the pro-democracy movement, which the military brutally crushed in 1989.